OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said agencies are investing more in training.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said agencies are investing more in training. Jamie Cotten/Labor Department

Millennials' Romance With Government is Short-Lived

Survey shows younger feds are enamored with public service, but don’t see it as a long-term prospect.

Millennials working for the federal government enjoy their jobs, but aren’t staying in them very long, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management.

Those born after 1980 make up 16 percent of the current federal workforce, and 86 percent of Millennial respondents in the upcoming 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey said their work is important. Millennials also are more likely than other generations working for Uncle Sam to say that their bosses treat them with respect (83 percent) and support their development (66 percent). But that’s where the good news ends: The median amount of time Millennials stay in their jobs is just 3.8 years, and only one-third of those surveyed believed their agencies valued creativity and innovation. Thirty-four percent of those feds age 33 and younger reported being happy with their opportunities to climb the government career ladder.

Those statistics would suggest that the government is doing a decent job of recruiting Generation Y, but is having a hard time retaining them after a few years.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said during an Oct. 8 briefing with reporters that limited budgets have hindered agencies’ opportunities to provide training in recent years, but that “training dollars are becoming more available” and agencies are investing more. She also pointed out that Millennials don’t expect to have one job for their entire career, and that OPM has changed its recruitment approach for that generation by pitching federal service, in part, as “an incredible opportunity to build your resume.”

Archuleta has spent the past year as OPM director traveling across the country trying to attract Millennials, among other groups, to federal service. The agency has increased its use of social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, but it remains to be seen whether their efforts will ultimately pay off.

OPM is also promoting governmentwide initiatives, like GovConnect, designed to “foster a one government environment of collaboration and knowledge-sharing,” Archuleta has said. The project is aimed at cultivating innovation and creativity, allowing employees to try out skills on a new project that isn’t in their current comfort zone. 

At the Housing and Urban Development Department, for instance, employees can use a program called “innovation time” that gives workers the opportunity to spend up to four hours a week on a project they are passionate about. Some employees have used the opportunity to create an app that helps people find affordable housing. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Human Services Department also are participating in GovConnect.

Another project Gov U, modeled on HR University, aims to provide education and training resources governmentwide to federal HR professionals to improve employee recruitment and retention.

Diversity among Generation Y feds roughly mirrors the rest of the government workforce, according to OPM’s report. Ten percent of Millennials are Hispanic, compared to 8.2 percent of the total federal workforce; 15 percent of Millennials are African-American compared to 18 percent of the total federal workforce; 6 percent are Asian; and 1.5 percent, Native American -- about the same as the total fed population. About two-thirds of Millennials are white, the same proportion as the government overall.

Eight out of 10 Millennials work outside of Washington, D.C., like most federal employees, and the top jobs were in compliance inspection and support. The departments of Agriculture, Interior and Veterans Affairs boasted the greatest proportion of Millennials among agencies, while Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, and Wyoming employed the greatest number of young feds among the states.

OPM’s report on Millennials is the first in a series of similar analyses based on the 2014 FEVS data. The agency will publish the entire survey this fall, but officials would not say when.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.